Angus Anderson - 14 Aug 2012
Recently bought a “hammer finished” Schiavona 2 with 36” sidesword blade, mostly for use as a workhorse training weapon for George Silver and Bolognese sword & buckler. Point of balance is about 3”. Other club members have commented they prefer (less whippy) this mid-2012 manufactured blade to earlier Darkwood blades in the club. The patina finish on the hilt is really rather nice and authentic, and doesn’t rust like I otherwise assumed it would. The fit and finish is very good, and anything but cheap or “economy”. It’s a very classy looking weapon, regardless of the line-up. After heavy bouting the blade is thoroughly notched, which I expected due to the blade’s light profile. The cat’s-head pommel also worked loose, which needed tightening with a spanner; another club member with a similar Darkwood sword recommends leather washers sandwiching the handle to prevent the pommel loosening. The hilt is pretty heavy gauge metal that handles forceful blows well; due to the simpler more open design compared to the Schiavona 1, it seems equal in weight, if not lighter. I am confident in the hand protection this hilt offers, despite the vigorous nature of my club’s bouting style. I ordered this sword with a thumb-ring at no additional cost, which so far I like, due to the secure but loose grip it provides; if I later change my mind, I’ll just grind it off. The protected lower quillon can be safely “fingered”, making this comparatively light sword good for practicing Italian-style fighting. The weapon still generates powerful blows due to its speed, and I find this versatility very appealing. I am a poor swordsman, but fight with greater speed, accuracy and confidence with this weapon; it’s a very noticeable improvement in my performance, entirely due to the sword. I would not have considered buying the full-priced version of this weapon, which for me is just too expensive for brutish training. I am thoroughly happy with this purchase, and congratulate Darkwood on crafting this economy version of their product.